While most SRU students spent their summer soaking up rays or putting in time at seasonal jobs, many students brushed up their professional skills and leadership opportunities.
Senior secondary education English major and women’s studies minor, Brandy Geist, 21, said she had an incredible week long experience in August at the PASSHE Undergraduate Women’s Leadership Conference held at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center in Sandy Lake, PA.
Geist was invited and recommended to attend the conference by director of the Women Center, Jodiann Solito.
Five female students from SRU were in attendance at the retreat and 30 women total were represented from across the state.
“You were surrounded by powerful women,” Geist said. “There were workshops held each day on how to lead your campus, a presentation on the history of feminism, and team-building activities.”
Geist and other students resided in a bunk house during their stay and enjoyed nature walks around the McKeever’s woods.
“It was very positive and encouraging,” Geist said. “There will be a women’s conference in September at Mansfield University as well. We’re hoping to have a reunion and see what people are doing with their projects.”
The conference pays students $100 dollars to start projects at their universities while meeting routinely to make sure students are keeping up with their proposals.
Geist enjoyed getting to know other positive women from across the nation, she said. Her experience was filled with memorable experiences, she said
“We taught a Korean girl how to twerk,” Geist said. “It was awesome!”
Junior psychology and philosophy major, Melanie Seymour, 20, also in attendance at the conference, said it the best part of her summer.
“You walked in and had best friends, there were no reservations,” she said. “It was life-changing!”
Seymour said one of her favorite parts of the conference was the PACE Palette personality test.
“We were put into groups based on the color our personality reflected,” Seymour said. “I was a red, it meant that I was outgoing.”
Other personality colors included yellow, green, and blue. The colors also correlated to the students’ best style of leadership.
“It sounds cheesy, but I will remember this week,” Seymour said. “There’s a network of these powerful women all over the state and we got a chance to work with some of them.”
Seymour said she still keeps in touch with many of the women she met at the leadership conference. She pulled out her phone with a group picture of her and the other women in her personality group.
“I miss my reds,” she said.
Seymour hoped the leadership conference would reflect the work SRU’s group would like to bring to campus for their proposal project.
“There are strong women on campus,” Seymour said. “You just have to be willing to reach out.”
Other SRU students enjoyed traveling experiences such as senior music major Sara Litz, 21.
“The music department traveled to London to study musical theater with our faculty professor Dr. Utsch,” Litz said,
Litz saw many musical performances while she were there including “Lion King”, “Singing in the Rain”, and “Les Miserable.”
Litz said she really enjoyed the freedom of roaming around Europe.
“We had a lot of free time to tour, “ she said. “Some students went to Ireland our long weekend.”
Adjusting to the culture was fun for the most part, Litz said. It was a matter of money that bothered her the most.
“I loved everything,” Litz said, “Just not the currency exchange.”
Senior journalism major Levi Lewis, 22, decided to chase a dream this summer that he will remember as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through connections with his girlfriend, Lewis mentioned to her father that he had always loved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wished he had an opportunity to work with them. Just like that he was able to hook Lewis up with who would later become his internship mentor.
“No dream is too big,” Lewis said. “It sounds cliché, but if you can dream it, you can do it and I was so happy to have had this experience.”
Lewis spent his summer on the sidelines of many of the Buccaneer’s practices filming the team’s plays and routines and taking still photos.
“I didn’t realize just how much detail went into practices,” he said. “The teams would sit and watch videos of the practices everyday. My mentor commended me on a lot of the videos I made for the team.”
As a journalism major, specifically in the field of broadcast, Lewis admits he hasn’t done much onscreen work, but he says his true passion lies behind the scenes working with cameras.
Lewis even traveled for free with the team and filmed many of their games.
“It’s like the roles were reversed,” Lewis said. “I was the one down on the field this time. It was awesome!”
Lewis said the best part of his experience was getting to meet Vincent Jackson, who was originally from the University of Northern Colorado, Lewis’s home state.
“My dad has a saying,” Lewis said. “If you’re average you’re just as close to the bottom as you are to the top. So just get it! You can do anything you set your mind too. I went for this and I’m glad I did. I would do it all over again.”